Encyclopedia of Historic Masonry Restoration

Sand, builder’s

Builder’s sand is used in a variety of applications in almost every type of building

Scaffold, Access Stair

Some types of scaffold are designed and engineered just for temporary site access.  In the case of the image below, the scaffold can be used as a working platform or in this case as an access stair. These systems and components are modular.  They can… Read More »Scaffold, Access Stair

Scam pointing

Scam pointing is a serious problem, created by low cost or poorly trained masonry contractors (sometimes not just misinformed but also intentionally misleading) in Washington DC. One of the biggest problems with scam pointing is not only that it can cause further damage to the… Read More »Scam pointing

Skylight, historic

Very few original historic skylights remain in the historic buildings of Washington DC, but the few that do remain show interesting facets of historic construction.    The historic skylights were generally vented to allow air to rise passively through the house. With a window open… Read More »Skylight, historic

Spalling, brick

Brick spalling is damage to brick masonry that is the result of improper pointing or moisture trapped into mortar joints. Spalling is the cracking of the outer face of a masonry surface. The picture below shows an example of a brick kneewall where the specific… Read More »Spalling, brick

Spark arrestor

Spark arrestor were originally used to keep coal or wood burning stoves or fireplace sparks from floating or flying out of the chimney and inciting fires at other adjacent or nearby building components. The image below shows an example of where someone installed a bit… Read More »Spark arrestor

Sprinkler head, fire suppression

Sprinkler heads, as fire suppression systems, distribute fire suppression mediums to extinguish or deter the spread of fires.  There are several different types of sprinkler systems.  

Squint bricks

Historic masonry architectural details such as squint bricks as classic details that make DC beautiful.  Squint bricks are bricks at the plinth or a base of a wall that have a chamfer on the outer top edge. These same bricks can be used at other… Read More »Squint bricks

Stainless steel

Stainless steel, like steel and iron is a ferrous metal, except in contrast stainless steel has a proportion of chromiumwhich adds a resistance to oxidation. A picture of an outdoor uncovered stainless steel bench follows below. A closer view of the stainless steel bars in… Read More »Stainless steel


Stucco is a plaster or cement rendering covering on a wall or ceiling surface.  Stucco is essentially troweled onto the surface in multiple layer application.